This is a Spanish alioli garlic sauce recipe, and vegan too. It’s a vegan alternative to Spanish garlic mayonnaise that pairs perfectly with potatoes and rice dishes. This easy-to-make Spanish aioli recipe is also made with a hand blender instead of a mortar and pestle.
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What Is Traditional Spanish Alioli
We first learned to make traditional garlic alioli at an olive oil producer in Catalonia. It’s a manual process that requires a lot of elbow grease. Traditionally, alioli translates roughly to garlic and oil. The more contemporary version and translation into English is Spanish aioli, without the extra “l”.
Many people refer to alioli as Spanish mayonnaise, and I can see why they do. When we lived in Spain we added Spanish garlic aioli on top of rice dishes, but also added it to sausage sandwiches, burgers, and a lot of things we would otherwise use mayonnaise for. But, calling this Spanish mayonnaise is a bit of a misnomer.
Mayonnaise is generally made with egg yolks, oil, and vinegar. Whereas Spanish alioli is made with olive oil and garlic. Sure, both are white, creamy, and oh so delicious, but they are, in fact, different.
Aioli vs. Alioli
For many home chefs, they don’t care what this is Spanish garlic sauce is called, just that it’s tasty. But, for the food nerds out there, here are the key spellings for the versions of this sauce, depending on where it’s from.
- Alioli – Spanish spelling, one of the more traditional ways of referring to this garlic alioli recipe
- Allioli – The Catalan spelling, and because allioli is often deemed to be from the Catalan region of Spain, where we used to live, this could be the most traditional version, even if rarely used outside of Catalonia
- Aioli – Most common use on modern restaurant menus, but also used in French
Learn more about Spanish and Catalan cuisine:
Check out some of our other Spanish recipes:
Calamares Fritos Recipe – Authentic Spanish Calamari (also goes great with Spanish aioli sauce!)
Ingredients For This Spanish Alioli Recipe
The ingredients for Spanish alioli recipes differ depending on how traditional you want to make the recipe, versus how easy you want to make it. An authentic Spanish aioli recipe only has 3 ingredients and is prepared with a mortar and pestle. It’s difficult, time-consuming, and requires a lot of elbow grease. The alioli ingredients include Spanish olive oil, garlic, and salt – nothing more!
For this easier-to-make recipe for Spanish alioli, I add a few more ingredients to make it rich and creamy in a hand blender. This makes it easier to make.
This is also a Spanish aioli recipe without egg, which means it is vegan alioli! Now, the traditional recipe also doesn’t include egg, but many modern recipes do – including versions at restaurants. If you’re vegan, ask before assuming the Spanish garlic mayo is aioli, without egg, or truly more like mayonnaise.
- 8 garlic cloves, peeled
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 4 tablespoons warm water
- 2 tablespoons freshly-squeezed lemon juice
- About 1 cup of olive oil
How To Make This Spanish Alioli Recipe
Again, this is, believe it or not, a bit of an easier recipe, even if not quite the cheater alioli recipes out there.
Add the peeled garlic cloves, salt, warm water, and freshly-squeezed lemon juice into a glass jar made to use with a hand blender. Our hand blender came with a tall jar. It’s important to use something more tall and narrow rather than a bowl, in order to get the right consistency in the alioli. Beat the ingredients until they are in a smooth paste and the garlic is incorporated into the liquid.
Then, place the hand blender so that it is resting on the bottom of the jar and turn the blender on nonstop (rather than pulse).
Holding the hand blender with one hand (if you don’t have a helper!) start to drizzle the oil in a bit at a time, very slowly. While blending the olive oil, do not move the blender from the bottom of the glass. Go very slow and be patient! If the oil is poured in too quickly, it will separate and the consistency won’t be right.
You may not use the full one cup of olive oil. It depends on how much oil the garlic paste absorbs. Continue adding the oil until the texture is right – it should be thick and creamy, with no bits of garlic showing through.
- 8 garlic cloves
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 4 tablespoons warm water
- 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- 1 cup olive oil (approx)
- Peel the garlic cloves.
- Place the garlic cloves, salt, warm water, and fresh lemon juice in the glass of a hand blender.
- Beat everything to form a smooth paste.
- Fix the hand blender on the bottom of the glass and press the blender’s button to nonstop.
- Pour in the oil very, very slowly into the garlic paste, always being careful to not move the hand blender from the bottom of the glass. At this point, you have to be very patient and go slowly.
- The amount of oil you'll use will depend on how much the garlic paste absorbs. Always monitor the blending and watch for when the consistency and texture are right before adding the total amount of oil listed in the recipe.
- Once all the oil has been incorporated into the garlic, take out the hand blender. The result should be really creamy and smooth.
- This alioli carries no egg, so there is no danger of leaving it at room temperature. This also means it’s vegan!
- Alioli is served just in tiny bits to accompany some dishes such as fideuà, patatas bravas, etc.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 244Total Fat: 27gSaturated Fat: 4gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 23gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 266mgCarbohydrates: 1gFiber: 0gSugar: 0gProtein: 0g
This nutritional data is provided by a third-party source and should not be relied on if you are on a strict diet.
How To Serve Spanish Garlic Alioli
First, this version of Spanish aioli doesn’t include egg, so it doesn’t need to be stored in the fridge, although you can if you want it to be a little cooler. If you don’t serve it right away, just stir it with a fork before serving. Or, run the hand blender through it one more time before serving.
This is the perfect sauce to add to any Spanish dish, in particular fideuà, which is a Catalan vermicelli rice dish. It also goes perfectly with patatas bravas. But, we use it on Spanish sausages, meats, and burgers.